Thursday, 14 September 2017

Becoming Routine

An armed young man with issues walks into a school...

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

A rural high school in Washington state is mourning the loss of one of its students after another student allegedly stole his father's guns out of a safe, marched into the school and opened fire.  The suspect was known to have had troubles with bullying, and earlier had passed around notes to some of his friends which read that he was about to "do something stupid" and that he wanted to "teach everyone a lesson about what happens when you bully others".

Former U.S. President Obama said in October 2015 after a massacre at an Oregon community college: "Somehow this has become routine.  The reporting is routine.  My response here at this podium ends up being routine, the conversation in the aftermath of it ... We have become numb to this."

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Does anyone remember when a school shooting would be live breaking news and we all sat glued to our TVs?  Now it's like, "Oh, was there another one yesterday?"  Way to go, America, making shooting school children not a big deal.

A big part of the problem is that the United States now has a different mentality.  Kids having guns is no issue to the average American.  Programs exist to market firearms to teenagers.  To us Canadians this is unbelievably irresponsible.

A friend of a friend is desperately trying to get her American boyfriend to move up to Canada with her because she fears that either of them might be shot, particularly because the state where he currently lives supports open carry.  "Me being Canadian and always having the freedom to speak my mind will get me shot there," she wrote recently.  "There's irony in that, isn't it, in the land of the free."

Another friend of a friend died in 1989 because someone decided that he hated female engineers and went to their school to kill fourteen of them.  It was mainly because of that incident that Canada has some of the strictest gun laws of any country.  Those laws have been proven to work.

I do not plan to visit the U.S. any time soon.  I don't want to be having to constantly censor what I say or be suspicious of everyone because they just might be carrying a firearm and might use it at the slightest provocation.

And I don't think I would be surprised if, at some point in the future, the entirety of the adult population of the U.S. would be armed.  Someone shoots a gun for a stupid reason... then will come the inevitable carnage.  But who will care, right?  It's routine.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Perpetuation of Hatred

Thanks to Facebook's tendency to show posts that my friends like or comment upon, a page called Cold Dead Hands was brought to my attention.  It claims to be an educational website that supports free market capitalism, freedom of association, and limited government.
Most of the people on the site are stringent Second Amendment advocates as well.

That's all fine.

The first indication that all was not as it seemed was an ad for a bracelet that would "make all the liberals turn and run": the item in question was a leather bracelet with loops made to hold bullets.

However what really upset me was a post that displayed a photo of former First Lady Michelle Obama, with the caption "If I run for President, would you vote for me?" which touched off a sickening deluge of vitriol.  Comments ran from a simple "no way" to threats of grisly death, and all types of denigrating statements in between.  Thousands of them.

How could anyone generate so much hatred?

The first reasons that come to mind are sexism and racism.  Michelle Obama is a woman, and black.  Sadly in today's society, someone matching either of those conditions is suspect and must work twice as hard as everyone else to prove their worth.  Ironically, quite a few female commenters on the site wrote that they would not vote for a woman.

Let's throw in a political reason: her husband was a Democratic President and she supports the Democratic party.  That's more than enough for some people to dislike her.

Then there's the reverse body-shaming.  The former First Lady was always impeccably dressed, and had muscles from working out and being fit.  The "women don't belong in the gym" mentality was bad enough but it also fueled accusations from some that she was transgender, prompting even more jabs from the anti-LBGT crowd.

Next is guilt by association.  They hate her husband because he was black, or many of his policies were not to their liking.  Therefore they hate her.

The biggest reason of all, I believe, is ignorance.  Michelle Obama is a person who likes to inspire others.  She is educated, classy, and morally upright.  However people who do not understand (or who refuse to understand) these qualities attempt to cover their own shortfalls by creating so much negativity that anything else is drowned out.

This why I've stopped commenting on many types of posts, because invariably I get replies from people who insist on the opposite, or wrong, point of view and will not even consider anything different.  I only end up shouting in the dark, or worse, being insulted or threatened.

As for the aforementioned page, I blocked it.  Unfortunately there are three people on my friends list were shown to have "liked" the page, two of whom I have known for many years.  I don't like the thought of having to be careful of what I talk to them about from now on, but is anyone who can like a page like that someone that I would really want to associate with?

It's little wonder I'm losing faith in humanity.